Olivia and Alice: A unique friendship
A letter from a local healthcare worker about Olivia, a caring 9-year-old girl who volunteers at a Tomahawk long-term care facility, and her friendship with a 94-year-old woman named Alice.
Hello Tomahawk community and surrounding area,
I am a Life Enrichment Director at a long-term care facility in Tomahawk, and we don’t usually get a lot of volunteers who want to volunteer at our LTC facility. But in October of 2019 I got a call from an 8-year-old little girl named Olivia who had just moved here from Kansas asking if she could come and volunteer.
We have some amazing adult volunteers that we love and could not get through the day without them, but there is something about children that brightens every resident’s face. After meeting with her and her mom, we decided that she could come every other Tuesday and Wednesday. Olivia brought her guinea pig in one day, she would do crafts, participate in our sing-along and even decorate ornaments at Christmas time.
We would always go around and say hello to everyone when she was here, and it always made the residents and staff smile.
Olivia started eating lunch with a table, and she connected with Alice, a lady that has been here for more than a few years. Alice is 94 years young, and if you met her, you wouldn’t even think she was 80. She has such a young spirit. Alice and Olivia connected from the very first time that Olivia came to our facility. We even had a birthday party for both because their birthdays were only a month apart.
Then COVID-19 hit.
I felt like this story was one to tell because during this pandemic, Olivia and Alice have kept in contact by sending cards and drawings to one another. Since the ban on window visits has lifted, Olivia and her mom have come every other week to say hi to Alice and to see how things are going here in the facility.
In today’s world we hear a lot about how facilities are struggling and how depressed the residents are from not being able to see their families. That is all true. But my heart is filled with joy over how loving and caring this now 9-year-old girl is, and the happiness that she has brought Alice over the last nine months.
Alice always says her father raised her by telling her all her life, “It is a sad thing to lose the child inside us.” If you ever had the chance to meet her, you would notice how young of a spirit she has within her.
Kids today are stuck on their phones and parents are so busy that volunteering at a nursing home is not something you see kids wanting to do. Olivia came up with this idea all on her own. Her parents have supported her, and what a great thing to let your child do.
There is no greater gift in the world than someone’s time, and this young lady has chosen to spend her time with someone who is 83 years her senior. Just think about what they have taught each other in all the time that they have spent together.
Our facility couldn’t thank Olivia and her family enough for all the joy that they have brought our residents.
Grateful Healthcare Worker